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Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands

from £5225
Exploring Ecuador and the Galapagos where on each island we’ll walk with an expert naturalist guide

Guided Walking Holidays Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands

Imagine an early stroll along the quay in Puerto Ayora, the pelicans gathering in hope of some fisherman’s scraps. Or picture the sun rising across snow covered Chimborazo on the barren altiplano.

Perhaps the most diverse of all our Latin American holidays, this is as good a microcosm of the best of Latin America as you will find. Starting in the Andes at Quito, the most charismatic of capitals, we head south along the corridor of volcanoes, walking under Chimborazo (6,263m). You will learn how the summit of Chimborazo is the furthest point on earth from its centre, ride on the Devil’s Nose train, and observe and learn more of local life visiting homes, markets and communities along the way.

Cuenca is a beautifully preserved colonial city well worth exploring. Continuing from here we walk in the Cajas National Park where at over 3500m,this lakeland landscape will be at the highest altitude we reach on this tour. We fly to Baltra Island, a small island of the Galápagos where after lunch we enjoy a boat journey to Isabella Island. Here we pass a flamingo lake on the way to the hotel. We visit Sierra Negra Volcano, the 2nd largest volcanic crater in the world, visit a turtle interpretation centre and hopefully encounter a myriad of diverse Galápagos wildlife.

Returning to Puerto Ayora we explore the area and spend a day, travelling by boat, to one of the other islands with more diverse habitat, flora and fauna. On each island, we’ll walk with an expert naturalist guide to make sure we get plenty of exercise whilst enjoying the huge natural diversity of each island for which the Galapagos are world famous, including sightings of Sea Iguanas and Blue Footed Boobies.

Holiday Highlights

  • Come face to face with a Galápagos sea lion.
  • Walk under Chimborazo.
  • Explore Cuenca and Quito - beautiful colonial cities.
  • Peruse Saquisili Market - a huge market for locals  
  • Enjoy a walk amongst the lakes in the Cajas National Park.
The holiday inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What's included in this holiday Items that are covered in the cost of holiday price.

      Return flights from Heathrow to Quito via Madrid or Amsterdam both ways (Iberia Airlines or KLM)
      Internal flights Guayaquil to Baltra (Aerogal)
      Airport transfers
      En suite accommodation with breakfasts taken in the hotels
      Dinners taken at the hotels or at local restaurants
      Local English speaking guide throughout
      Specialist wildlife guides in Galápagos
      All local transport costs.
Whats not included in this holiday Items that are not covered in the cost of holiday price.

  • Entrance fees to some museums and historic buildings (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Insurance
Please select Departure Date to view:

Please see Holiday Information Sheet for this holidays individual departures itinerary (located under View Departures & Book tab)

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

This departure: Grade SS/4

  1. Day 1

    We fly to Quito via Madrid. On arrival in Quito we transfer to our centrally located hotel for dinner and overnight. Quito is at  2,850m so we need to take things a little easy on the first night.

  2. Day 2

    After breakfast we venture out of the city to La Mitad del Mundo, the place were the position of the equator was first measured. Later our local guide will take us through Quito's beautifully preserved colonial quarter. We return to our hotel in Quito before heading out for dinner at a local restaurant.

  3. Day 3

    Leaving Quito we drive up to the Antisana National Park, for a gentle hike. The altitude here is over 3,500m and our walking will take account of this. The walk is about 4km with 200m of ascent and descent. It should take about 2hrs to complete. The park is renowned for spectacular bird life so hopefully we will spot some notables on the way. Later if time permits we will visit one of the local rose plantations. Finally we continue to Lasso for dinner and overnight at the historic Hosteria La Cienega.

  4. Day 4

    Today we hike in the Cotopaxi National Park under the shadow of Cotopaxi volcano. We plan two separate shorter hikes to make sure we see the best of the area. We walk in Cotopaxi Canyon, a generally flat easy trail of about 3 km taking about 90mins. Next we walk around the Limpiopungo Lagoon, another generally flat trail of 3km around the shore of the lagoon. Again expect to walk for 90mins. If the weather is kind there are fantastic photo opportunities of the reflection of Cotopaxi in the lagoon.

  5. Day 5

    First we visit the indigenous market at Saquisili, one of the most famous Indian markets of Ecuador. We will enjoy a hosted lunch at Casa Del Perez. The owner is an artist and her place is a nice surprise for visitors. After lunch we continue to Riobamba with some time to relax at the hotel..

  6. Day 6

    After breakfast we drive to Chimborazo National Park for a gentle hike in the surrounding countryside. We stop at the Palacio Real community to learn something of the indigenous people of the area and, in particular, their relation with the lamas and alpacas. We will walk to Arbol Solitario (Spanish speakers will know what to expect) accompanied by a guide from the local community. We will walk up and down hill for  about 2.5km.

  7. Day 7

    Today we plan to take the train excursion from Alausi to Sibambe and return via the famous Nariz del Diablo (Devil´s Nose) railway. We continue by coach to Cuenca, with a visit to Ingapirca ruins en-route. We will have dinner in a local restaurant in Cuenca.

  8. Day 8

    Today will be an easy day. We will spend the morning on a guided tour of Cuenca city and then have a free afternoon to relax or catch up on some shopping.

  9. Day 9

    First we drive to El Cajas National Park for a walk amongst spectacular scenery. We might reach up to 4,000m altitude, which will very likely be the highest point reached on this holiday. The planned walk takes us past  Laguna Torreadora. This is a linear walk of 5km with minimal ascent and about 200m descent. On leaving the park we drive down through the mountains to Guayaquil, at sea level. A stark and fascinating contrast to the mountains.

  10. Day 10

    We fly to the Galapagos Islands. On arrival at the airport at Baltra we drive to Puerto Ayora for lunch. In the afternoon we have a two hour boat ride to Isabella Island and our beach side hotel.

  11. Day 11

    Our local guide will take us on excursions to Tintoreras to see the wildlife, particularly Sea Iguanas and Blue Footed Boobies, the walking is short and easy, punctuated by many stops to marvel at wildlife. Later we will walk to the Wall of Tears, the atmospheric ruins of a formal penal colony prison. The walk is about 8km with 50m ascent and descent.

  12. Day 12

    ">Today is a walking day. We will head off into the interior of the island to walk on the Sierra Negra Volcano. Expect to walk approximately 7km with 100m ascent and descent at a gentle pace, the walk should take about 2 hrs 30mins. On clear days the views are outstanding. A boxed lunch is included today.

  13. Day 13

    Today we return by boat to Puerto Ayora and transfer to our hotel. In the afternoon we will walk to Tortuga Bay and to the Charles Darwin Tortoise Conservation Centre. Here you will see turtles being raised and will get an insight into the fascinating turtle life cycle. The walk is a gentle stroll on generally sandy paths of about 4km.

  14. Day 14

    Today we will have an excursion to one of the outlying islands. The excursion will not be confirmed until the day but a wildlife spectacular is assured. The tour will be accompanied by a professional wildlife guide.

  15. Day 15

    Finally we return to Baltra Airport to catch our flight to Quito and on to the UK.

  16. Day 16

    We arrive back in the Uk.

Travel Details

  • Flights Heathrow-Quito  via Madrid both ways, Iberia Airlines or via Amsterdam, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.
  • Internal flights Guayaquil to Baltra, Aerogal.
  • Arrival transfer by road c.30mins
  • Upgrades are available on most flights. For scheduled flights this may be Premium Economy, Business or First Class. Please ask us for details and a competitive quote.
  • If direct regional flights are not available, we can often offer add-on flights to a London airport at a competitive rate. Please ask us for details and a competitive quote.

Trip Map

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Our Accommodation on this holiday

Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday. If you are on a multi-centre holiday, these are highlights of the places where we stay. Please refer to your Holiday Information sheet (which can be found under View Departures & Book), for your departure date and for all your accommodation details.

Hosteria Chorlavi

The four star Hacienda Chorlavi Hotel  is a lovely renovated historical country estate, which is a 30-minute drive from Cuycocha Lake. It was first property acquired by the Jesuits in the region, in 1620. It features a central courtyard and a charming water fountain. Horse-riding trips and live folkloric music can be enjoyed on the weekends. The rooms features are country-style décor with elegant dark wood furnishings and cream-colored walls. There is also free Wi-Fi, flat-screen cable TV and the rooms offer nice décor as well as seating areas. Some of the rooms include fireplaces and stylish wall paper details. The breakfast is served with saisonal fruits, eggs, cereals and treats every day. The hotel's own restaurant offers local specialties and international cuisine. After dinner you can enjoy a drink at the bar or relax in the reading room. You can also book massage sessions or visit Otavalo Fair, which is about 9.3 mi away. Apart from that Airport shuttles can be arranged and private parking in our area is free. Spend your holidays in our hotel and we will promise you a great time in Equador!